"Judges critical of mum jailing (by corrupt Judge Michael Jarrett)"

A MOTHER who could not afford the petrol to drive her children to a court-ordered contact visit with their father should never have been jailed, the Full Bench of the Family Court has ruled.

In an extraordinary judgment, the court said not only did Federal Court magistrate Michael Jarrett get it wrong, his considerations fell "far short" of what was required by the Family Law Act.

With no money to put petrol in her car and without a lawyer, she had represented herself before Mr Jarrett, who earns $239,430.

She was jailed for four months in March but released on appeal on the order of the Full Bench after eight weeks and reunited with her daughter, 6, and son, 8.

The Full Bench of the Family Court reserved its reasons which were published yesterday.

Justice Mary Finn, Justice Bernard Warnick and Justice Jennifer Boland said prison should only be invoked as a last resort.

"For this mother, with primary care of two young children, the more so," the judges said.

They said they expected Mr Jarrett would have "cogent and thorough" reasons for such a serious decision however his reasons were "deficient in detail and lacked clarity".

The parents split up when their son was 14 months and the mother was pregnant with their daughter. The children have always lived with their mother, who has since remarried.

The three judges said Mr Jarrett was also wrong in sending the children to live with their father indefinitely when he jailed their mother.

Just three months earlier, a Family Court judge had granted the mother custody, saying she was an outstanding parent doing an outstanding job and living with their father would expose them to "too much prospect of harm".  (Source : http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/no-petrol-so-mum-jailed/story-e6freuzi-1111114751899)

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